I’ve been having a hard time figuring out how to handle Read Aloud Thursday since we started schooling in August. I do plenty of reading aloud to my girls, but much of what we read relates to our studies, particularly science and history. Many of these books are really good, but I don’t want Read Aloud Thursday to turn into Science Thursday or History Thursday. I still try to pull out random picture books just for fun, too, but it’s hard to make a long post out of just one or two books. Oh, the problems we bloggers face! 😉
It was no problem at all for me to decide to share Mary Smith for today’s Read Aloud Thursday, though. I pulled this one off the shelf at the library and knew I had to bring it home because, please tell me, who could resist that cover illustration?!?! I believe Lulu got to it before I did, or at the very least had someone besides me read it to her and Louise. They got a big kick out of the fact that Mary Smith is the name of a dearly-loved relative of ours. I finally got around to reading it to them, and I have to say that this is perhaps the most unique story in picture book format I’ve ever read. This is the story of Mary Smith, a “knocker-up” in England during the 1920s. As a knocker-up, Mary went about town waking people up by aiming her peashooter at their windows and firing. Yep. This is not the normal method of the knocker-up, but it sure makes for an interesting story. According to the photograph in the front of the book, Mary Smith was an actual woman who used an actual peashooter to do this job. The photograph is humorous enough, but Andrea U’Ren’s illustrations of a purposeful Mary Smith, striding through town with her peashooter to awaken the townspeople, from the baker to the mayor, are downright giggle inducing. This book also contains all manner of onomatopoeia–those peas make all kinds of funny sounds as they hit the windows! The story ends very humorously as Mary arrives home to discover that her own daughter has apparently not arisen from bed for the day! Really, this is just a gem of a book. I can see all kinds of possibilities if you’re of the unit-study persuasion. You can hear it read here on NPR, with all kinds of commentary, but it won’t be as enjoyable because the illustrations are half of the charm. Mary Smith is a expansive woman who does her job with joy, and the illustrations fairly sing. It turns out that we’ve read a book illustrated by Andrea U’Ren before.
I give Mary Smith a Highly, Highly Recommended!
What tickled the fancy of you and yours this week? Link up below! 🙂